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  • US lifting aid freeze to Egypt

  • Egyptian police relax while on standby on a street in the capital Cairo on April 16, 2014The United States is partially lifting its freeze on funding to Egypt, with plans to deliver 10 Apache helicopters and release some $650 million in military aid this year, officials said. Despite concerns about Egypt's failure to embrace democratic reforms following the July ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, the US government will go ahead with easing its funding freeze, officials said. After news of the Apache aircraft was released late Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed Wednesday the US administration would also seek Congress' approval to release some $650 million out of a planned $1.5 billion in aid for Egypt in the fiscal year 2014. The funds would be primarily used for programs such as counterterrorism, border security and non-proliferation, Psaki said, including in the volatile Sinai peninsula where Egyptian authorities are trying to crack down on militant groups.



  • US man charged with violating Iran export ban

  • HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) — The owner of a Pennsylvania company that makes steel-processing equipment has signed a plea agreement with U.S. prosecutors on a charge he conspired to illegally sell an $800,000 machine to an Iranian firm.
  • As peace deadline nears, Abbas says he has options

  • RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to show that he has alternatives if U.S.-mediated talks with Israel break off Tuesday, the deadline for agreeing on a possible extension.
  • US soldier accused of killing teens in Iraq

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Washington (AP) — Two unarmed Iraqi brothers posed no threat as they herded cattle in a grove where a U.S. Army reconnaissance team was hidden one day seven years ago. But a sergeant kneeled, leveled his rifle and killed them anyway, a prosecutor said Wednesday as a preliminary hearing opened in the soldier's case.
  • Armenian leader says Ankara denies 'genocide' but Turks not enemy

  • By Hasmik Mkrtchyan YEREVAN (Reuters) - Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan accused Turkey of "utter denial" of what Armenia sees as the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire 99 years ago, but said his country does not consider Turks its enemy. They appeared the same day Turkey's leader offered what his government said were unprecedented condolences to descendants of Armenians killed by Ottoman soldiers. Deep disagreement about what happened in 1915 continues to poison relations between Muslim Turkey and Christian Armenia. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 and reconciliation efforts stalled in 2010.
  • Turkey's Erdogan offers condolences for 1915 killings of Armenians

  • Turkey's PM Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting in AnkaraBy Jonny Hogg ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan offered on Wednesday what the government said were unprecedented condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians killed in World War One by Ottoman soldiers. In a statement issued on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the deeply contested deaths, Erdogan unexpectedly described the events of 1915 as "inhumane", using more conciliatory language than has often been the case for Turkish leaders. Turkish government officials said it was the first time a Turkish prime minister had offered such explicit condolences and described the statement as a historic step, but Erdogan's words were dismissed as "cold-hearted and cynical" by an influential U.S.-based Armenian advocacy group. The exact nature and scale of what happened during fighting that started in 1915 is highly contentious and continues to sour relations between Turkey and Armenia, a former Soviet republic.



  • Syrian lawmaker first to announce presidential bid

  • FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2014 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad, hold up his portraits as they march during a demonstration is solidarity with government forces, in the al-Inshaat neighborhood of Homs, Syria. A Syrian lawmaker on Wednesday registered his candidacy for the June 3 presidential election, becoming the first contender in the June 3 vote that will held in the midst of the country’s civil war and has already been dismissed by the West as a farce. President Bashar Assad has suggested he would seek another term in office but has not yet announced his candidacy. (AP Photo/SANA, File)DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A Syrian lawmaker registered as a candidate Wednesday for the country's June 3 presidential election, becoming the first official contender in a vote that will take place during the country's civil war and one that embattled President Bashar Assad likely will win.



  • Palestinian rivals to try again for unity deal

  • Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, right, and senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad meet in Gaza for talks aimed at reaching a reconciliation agreement between the two rival Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Palestinians have been divided since 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed Wednesday to form a unity government and hold new elections — a potentially historic step toward mending the rift that has split their people between two sets of rulers for seven years.



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